Saturday, 23 November 2013

"I don't know"

We are terrified of saying, "I don't know". We are a species that feels the incessant, abject horror of the void created by the curse of consciousness; we are thrown into the world with self-awareness, which creates the desperate need to fill the world and our place in it with meaning. We are set up to do this constantly and we fill the void with profundity or nonsense. It is such an automatic consequence of thought we hardly notice it; thought must be filled...with anything. It doesn't matter what, as long as the void is out of sight and the curse of consciousness satisfied.

Self-awareness sets up the means of questioning why without giving us the means to know the answer; we are limited beings. So we pretend and pretend and pretend until we deceive even ourselves that we've found the answer. For example, Christianity explains the world by inventing a kindly father figure and creator. But Christianity is aware of the void too and therefore must justify itself; it does this by saying we are born into sin and we must take on the responsibility for this sin (this "kindly" father figure created us with sin then blames us for our sinfulness...). What does Christianity prescribe to alleviate our guilty sin? Go to Christ and take on the greater guilt of Christ's sacrifice, a guilt that can never be repaid. The balm wounds while it heals perpetuallyWhat exquisite and self-justifying torture! Thus, Christianity ensures its own survival in the void of self-awareness.  

Have the courage to say, "l don't know"; we incessantly seek meaning because we are aware of the void and the need to justify ourselves. We would rather fill the void with nothingness than live with the uncertainty of not knowing.

One of the main lessons I've learnt from having Parkinson's disease is the need to live with uncertainty and the lack of meaning. I was thrown into the world in a specific state (which includes a susceptibility to Parkinson's) but in no way did I choose that state (just as I did not choose whether I was male or female, had two eyes or not). The meaning of this state and the reasons why only stretch to this; it just is. "The rest is silence" (Hamlet). I can live with the void of not knowing why.

You can too. Everybody say, "I don't know". Again, "I don't know". That "I don't know" is not a defeat, it is a new start and an honesty born of fearless self-awareness. It acknowledges there are some things we cannot know. But it also encourages further exploration and development; "to know that you don't know, is to be wise" (Socrates). It loosens the horror of not knowing. It is a liberation...

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